Information on Wiltshire's leisure opportunities scheme for those aged 6 to 18 with an EHCP
Wiltshire's Short Breaks Scheme, designed in consultation with parents and carers, enables eligible children and young people, who have special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND), support to access activities and leisure opportunities.
This additional support comes in the form of three options for children and young people, together with their parent carers, to choose from. This allows them to think creatively about how they want to spend their leisure time, and choose what works best for them.
The scheme runs on an annual basis, from April to the following March. Eligible families are required to re-apply for the scheme each year between January and the first weekend in March. Late applications will not be accepted unless there are exceptional circumstances. Children and young people who become eligible for the scheme from March will be awarded a reduced entitlement.
A short break is when children and young people with additional needs or disability participate in activities that they enjoy in their leisure time (outside school hours), for example, playing sport, spending time with friends, joining a club or spending a few days away from home.
There are several benefits to short breaks such as:
- enabling disabled children and young people to experience new relationships, environments, and positive activities
- providing a necessary and valuable opportunity for primary carers (often mum and/or dad, but not always) to have a break from their caring responsibilities, and to recharge their batteries
- supporting parents in their caring role so that the whole family can enjoy activities together
All children and young people who:
- live in Wiltshire (excludes Swindon)
- are aged between 6 and 18 years old (young people who turn 19 between 1 April and 31 August are still eligible to apply but will receive a reduced entitlement)
- attend a mainstream school, other provision, or are home-educated and have an EHCP with a SEN banding of Upper 1 or above or
- have a place funded by Wiltshire Council at a Special School or a resource base in or out of county
Children and Young People in residential placements of 38 weeks or more can apply but will be receive a reduced entitlement, as leisure and social opportunities will already be provided as part of their funded placement. Those attending for 52 weeks are not eligible for the Short Breaks Scheme.
An online eligibility tool is available during the application periods to check if a child or young person is eligible for the Short Breaks Scheme, this can be found on the WPCC website.
- a Short Breaks Scheme payment (paid in two instalments, in April and September)
- up to 84 hours of organised Barnardo's activity clubs on Saturdays, and during school holidays
- the 'combo' - up to 42 hours of organised Barnardo's activity clubs, plus a Short Breaks Scheme payment (paid in two instalments, in April and September)
Families choosing to access Barnardo's are required to contribute £10 per 3 hour session, and £18 per 6 hour session, towards this heavily subsidised service.
To receive the second instalment payment, parent carers are required to complete a monitoring form which is emailed to them in August.
For those who do not have an email account or access to the internet, the Wiltshire Parent Carer Council are available to support on 01225 764647.
Applications are made online by visiting:
The scheme closes each year on the 31 October. No applications will be accepted after this date under any circumstances.
Wiltshire Council reserves the right to close the scheme if available budget is exhausted. Eligible families are therefore encouraged to apply promptly.
The scheme runs on an annual basis, from April to the following March. New families and those already enrolled are required to apply for the scheme each year between January and the first weekend in March. Late applications will not be accepted unless there are exceptional circumstances. Children and young people who become eligible for the scheme from March will be awarded a reduced entitlement.
You may find it useful to visit the WPCC's regularly updated list of available options that can be booked for Short Breaks.